Lean in closer so I can tell you a secret. I never read Sheryl Sandberg. My mum and nearest and dearest have always demonstrated a persevering sense of principle. So I try and take my cue from them.
The lean in that has me rapt is the one that Robert Waldinger talks about: the one where he discusses the secrets to a good life. For 75 years, The Harvard Study of Adult Development tracked the lives of college students. After biyearly medical tests, interviews and a host of other data collection, they discovered what made people happy. Not fame. Not money. But relationships. Leaning in to friends, family and communities to create social ties creates lasting physical, emotional and mental health. We should all know this and we should all relish in connections.
That’s why this week’s book is such a treat. Rain by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Christian Robinson is a whimsical delight. Robinson’s vibrant hues combined with Ashman’s simple statements juxtapose the rainy day experiences of a curmudgeon and a free spirited young boy. “Blasted overcoat” versus “It’s raining frogs and pollywogs.” Guess who said what. Let’s just say the one wearing a frog beanie doesn’t exclaim “blasted.” The story takes a turn when these two worlds collide initiated by the kindness of the young boy. During an attempted act of kindness, the young boy forces the curmudgeon to face his dispersal of doldrums. “You?” “You.” In this moment, the magic of leaning in sparkles.
Ankle biter 1 immediately resonated with the beanie on the boy’s head. “That’s me!” He learned the word “grumpy” and continues to use it to describe when he is not in a ‘sharing’ mood. I adored this book because not only is the child engaging in his urban surroundings, he does so with an ebullience of infectious spirit. Connection, especially through contagious uplifting moods, can elevate the dreariest of days.